T20 World Cup: Finch praises Zampa after Australia's big win over Sri Lanka

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Australia's Adam Zampa celebrates taking the wicket of Sri Lanka's Charith Asalanka with teammates. (Reuters)
Australia's Adam Zampa celebrates taking the wicket of Sri Lanka's Charith Asalanka with teammates. (Reuters)

Dubai - Zampa turned Australia's fortunes around with a spell of 4-0-12-2 against Sri Lanka


Rituraj Borkakoty

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Published: Thu 28 Oct 2021, 10:37 PM

Last updated: Thu 28 Oct 2021, 10:54 PM

Five days after South Africa made Australia huff and puff while defending a paltry 119 in the opening game, Aaron Finch’s men were on cruise control at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.

Showing genuine class and depth, Australia doused the fire of a talented but inexperienced Sri Lankan team, scripting an emphatic seven-wicket win.

For the record, it was their second straight victory in the T20 World Cup. But more importantly, the Aussies have now thrown down a gauntlet to old rivals and title favourtes England, their next opponent in the Super 12, with the sheer weight of their all-round performance.

The Adam Zampa-inspired Australian bowlers showed great skills and maturity to restrict Sri Lanka to a modest score of 154 for six after Finch had won the toss and decided to field.

Then Finch (37 off 23 balls) and David Warner (65 off 42 balls, 10 fours) dismantled the Lankan attack, killing the game as a contest in the powerplay, having raced to 63/0 after six overs.

While Finch fell to the wrong one from the skillful Wanindu Hasaranga (4-0-22-2), Warner regained his rhythm as he pulled, drove and swept the Lankan bowlers to erase the ghosts of his IPL nightmare, registering his first half-century in six T20 games.

Steve Smith (28 not out off 26 balls) and Marcus Stoinis (16 not out off 7 balls) then took the Australians home with three overs to spare.

"That was a really good performance. Sri Lanka got away to a flyer with the bat and the way Adam Zampa, in particular, was able to drag that back through the middle, and then Mitchell Starc to have a real impact, it was fantastic,” Finch said.

Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka, on the other hand, was left ruing his team’s batting collapse.

“We got the start that we really needed but in the middle phase we were not able to capitalise. We could have done a little well in the middle period,” Shanaka admitted.

“The other day, Asalanka took us home (against Bangladesh). The set batsman needs to take us home. I felt slightly we were 25-30 runs short on that wicket.”

Zampa’s turn and control inspired an Australian comeback after Sri Lanka had looked set for a big score, thanks to an impressive display of attacking batting from Charith Asalanka (35 off 27 balls) and Kusal Perera (35 off 25 balls).

But Zampa (4-0-12-2) turned Australia’s fortunes around as the Lankans collapsed from 78 for one in 9.3 overs to 94 for five, losing four wickets for just 16 runs.

If not for a superb fightback from Bhanuka Rajapaksa (33 not out off 26 balls), Sri Lanka would have struggled to reach even the 150 mark.

When Asalanka and Perera, the two talented left-handers, started dominating the attack after the early dismissal of Pathum Nissanka (7), it seemed Sri Lanka would leave a daunting target for the Aussies to chase.

But Zampa’s introduction in the eighth over turned the game on its head as the leg-spinner had Asalanka caught by Smith in the deep before dismissing Avishka Fernando (4) with a well-flighted delivery.

“Zamps was terrific tonight. The way that he controlled the game, he was fantastic. He got big wickets. That was a world-class performance from him,” Finch said.

While Zampa was penetrative and economical, Mitchell Starc (4-0-27-2), the pick of the Australian pace bowlers, and bowled magical a yorker to rattle the stumps of the dangerous Perera.

The Sri Lankans were in deep trouble after the fall of Perera, but Rajapaksa’ calm head and classy shots helped them score 43 runs off the last four overs.

In the end, the late flourish from Lanka failed to challenge their rivals as Australia warmed up for Saturday’s England clash with a thumping win.

“We're looking forward to it (the match against England). They've probably been the form side in white-ball cricket for a long time. We love playing them and it'll be an entertaining game," Finch signed off.

Brief scores:

Australia beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets

Sri Lanka 154/6 in 20 overs (Charith Asalanka 35, Kusal Perera 35; Adam Zampa 2/12, Mitchell Starc 2/27)

Australia 155/3 in 17 overs (David Warner 65, Aaron Finch 37; Wanindu Hasaranga 2/22, Dasun Shanaka 1/6)

Player of the Match: Adam Zampa (Australia)

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